Did you know that we don’t just hear with our ears but we also hear with our brain?
The brain plays a significant role in how we experience speech and sound. Your life experiences shape your listening preferences making hearing as unique as your fingerprint. The brain takes specific information from the ears and processes it so that we can hear pitch, timbre, and changes in volume of speech. The better a hearing aid can replicate the processing abilities of the brain, the more comfortable and natural a hearing aid will sound.
Your brain performs four major listening functions all the time in real time in order to process sounds. Firstly, it has to be able to recognize a sound. Do you ever wonder how, even if you close your eyes, and your best friend calls your name from across the room at a party, you still know it’s them? That is the power of our brain at work, allowing you to recognize all of the sounds around you. The brain also has the ability to help you orient yourself in a space. Whether you are playing cards with your friends in a cafeteria or listening to a concert in a large music hall, your brain will be able to give you information about the size of the space, and the direction of the speakers. Your brain can also help you to focus on who you want to listen to. It will give you cue’s about the dominant speaker in the room and the direction they are speaking from. Finally, and this is the hardest part for many people who have a hearing loss, your brain has the ability to separate who you want to listen to from the competing background noise. This is an extremely important function. It allows us to hear speech in the presence of background noise.
Aggressive directional microphone technologies, attempt to completely eliminate the background noise, thus taking away the ability of the brain to be able to recognize speech from various directions and focus on different speakers at different times. A new revolutionary technology, called the Oticon Opn, opens up a new world of possibilities to hearing aid wearers. Oticon Opn provides the brain with the cue’s that it would naturally use to listen in difficult environments and supports your brain in doing the work that it was meant to do.